Baseball is a symphony of sound, smell and sight. The crack of a hard hit ball, the sizzle of hot dogs, the sun on your face while surrounded by a cheering crowd. But it’s more than just a sensory feast. Baseball is a shared tradition that binds us together, and there is nothing like it.
This month was more exciting than ever as we celebrated All-Star Week at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, right in the backyard of T-Mobile’s headquarters. It’s been an exciting 10-year run for T-Mobile as the Official Wireless Partner of Major League Baseball, and this year was the most interactive yet for fans! We must show the strength and capabilities of us 5G network combined during the biggest baseball week of the year.
Before Seattle Mariner and birth hero Julio Rodríguez put on a show at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and received a standing ovation at the All-Star Game, I got to talk to him during one of my Sidekicks conversations. He talked about the impact of meeting fans, like a young child in Baltimore whose wish list included meeting Julio in person. It may be their professional job, but baseball players like J-Rod clearly light up when they share stories about connecting with their fans.
All-Star Week is great because we get to see the best of the best compete against each other, along with some of the most powerful hitters in baseball. But baseball fans today are craving more: They want to be even closer to the sport and the athletes they love. And our smartphones provide that link, starting with the convenience of watching a broadcast match or checking statistics at any time and from virtually anywhere.
Improving the fan experience comes naturally to the Un-carrier. As a company on a mission to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world, we believe people don’t have to choose between in-person or digital experiences! That’s why it was such an honor for T-Mobile to offer a full range of innovative experiences during All-Star Week.
We have a super-fast, award-winning 5G network that continues to come to life in new ways. Take the MLB Next app with augmented reality: Fans at T-Mobile Park for All-Star Week could get a 3D look at the ball and launch angle, watch replays of the field, and get a bird’s-eye view of ALL the live action.
Another cool example came during the All-Star Futures Game with the first test on a national stage of MLB’s automated ball-strike (ABS) system. Powered by T-Mobile 5G advanced network solutionsthe system uses computer vision cameras to track the pitches as they pass through a 3D hitting zone for each batter. The calls are available immediately and are the first step towards revolutionizing the way they are made in real time. Fans absolutely loved ABS and how seamlessly it worked.
Even those with a passing interest in All-Star Week found it fascinating to watch T-Mobile’s pre-game batting practice show. The 5G-connected camera feeds – including incredible drone footage (a fun addition to this year’s production!) – brought us closer than ever to the players warming up for the Derby, providing beautiful bird’s-eye views.
Sports organizations that embrace 5G and the advancements it enables will not only delight fans, they will continue to thrive. As stadiums focus more on fans, investments in sports technology are growing. Analysts even expect smart stadium investment growing by 219%, from $7.3 billion in 2022 to $23.3 billion in 2028.
We love working with partners who use our 5G network to bring their dreams to life. For example, we have collaborated with Mixhalo to deliver high-quality audio and low latency, using 5G to virtually eliminate delays from the live ESPN and Fox broadcasts within the MLB Next app.
We’ve even focused on 5G innovation in sports and entertainment 2023 T-Mobile Accelerator class of nine startups from around the world. By combining our technology with their ingenuity, many more immersive fan experiences will come!
The FANS obviously provide the excitement behind every sport. Without them, watching sport would lack intensity, passion and a sense of community. With every exciting match and nerve-wracking victory, diehard sports fans bring us closer together. Their experience as a spectator becomes our shared experience.
This is especially true of baseball, a game steeped in tradition and history. And rather than detract from that tradition, 5G amplifies these shared moments by making them more immersive, interactive and personal than ever.